AFRICA/DR CONGO - Massacres and tensions in North Kivu: perhaps to empty resource-rich territories?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016 armed groups  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Since the beginning of the year, in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, seven reception centers for displaced persons have been closed and, for at least six of them, the reason is always the same: local populations, Nande and Hunde, accuse the Congolese Hutu displaced who are resident in these areas to be accomplices of the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), Rwandan Hutu rebels, who have been operating in the area for 20 years.
According to a note from the Peace Network for Congo sent to Agenzia Fides, "what is worrying is the fact that each group considers its enemy those who speak the language of the opposing group. If local populations, Nande and Hunde, consider the Hutu as FDLR militia, the Hutu consider the Nande and Hunde as the militia of the local Mai-Mai armed groups. In addition, the Nande and Hunde consider themselves indigenous peoples and consider the Hutus, as "foreigners", "Rwandans".
These tensions could be fired on purpose to depopulate areas rich in natural resources. In late May, in a pastoral Letter, the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu addressed the problem of "alienation of community lands, both through an anarchist occupation strategy, and through the dark contracts signed by State representatives with large agribusiness companies, and through the creation of protected areas decided without any consultation of the local population and without any offer of compensation, thereby depriving it of a vital essential space".
According to the Bishops, the people who live in a situation of total insecurity, indifference of the authorities in Kinshasa and the international community, "wonder if their ordeal is not the result of a logic and ideology of depopulation and repopulation implemented as part of a subtle dynamic of balkanization of the Country". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/07/2016)